Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Flashback

This may be a familiar picture for many of you. It is the one I used when I sent out my Adoption Announcements. It was taken only a few weeks after we were home and after Henry's first trip to the Kingdom Hall. My dear friend John (Jack's dad!!) has quite the photography knack, and he snapped many pictures for me that day. It was really hard to pick just one, but I finally chose this one. I loved how it reflected Henry's personality. And I loved that is showed me looking at him instead of at the camera.

After my veeerrrryyyy long 3-week stay in Russia, I was glad to arrive home on November 20th. It was a very long travel day. We left Russia after lunch on Saturday. We arrived home very late Saturday night. However, in between there we crossed the international date line. So what seems like a couple of hours on the clock was probably closer to 24 hours of real time.

As I said, we left Vladivostok after lunch. It was a flurry of activity at the airport as the courier that had taken our paperwork to Moscow arrived off her flight while we were waiting in line to check in for ours. Our coordinator in Russia did a great job of getting us checked in and getting us bulkead seats, at least for the flight from Vlad to Seoul.

After we got all of bags checked (whew, I never thought it would all fit!), we had to hang out in the gate area for a while. Then we had to board a bus that took us about 20 feet to the steps to board the plane. (I'm still not sure why we couldn't just walk over there, but I wasn't about to question it at the time!)

Henry fell asleep shortly after takeoff. They have these cool things on the Korean Air flights...a bassinet that hooks to the wall in the bulkhead seats. So after he fell asleep, I tried to transfer him to the cute little bassinet and proceeded to bump his head and wake him up. That was the end of the bassinet. He fell back asleep but woke back up every time I tried to put him back in there.

Our connection in Seoul was very tight. I'm not sure how it happened, but by the time we got off our first flight, got through all of the checkpoints we needed to get through, we were at the very tail end of boarding our flight from Seoul to San Francisco. At this point, I was sweating like a pig.

And Henry was starving. He had chewed on his shoes all of the way through the Seoul airport. I had a bottle that had formula already in it, and quickly asked a flight attendant to add some water for me. Shortly after he finished it, he promptly vomited it all over me and him. Now, I had been smart enough to back a backup outfit for him (2 actually), but I hadn't thought of packing anything extra for me. I changed him and cleaned myself up the best that I could. I wasn't sure if he was airsick, or if the formula had soured, or if he'd just eaten it too fast. Either way, I kept a very close eye on him for the rest of the flight.

Fortunately, we were in the middle section of a wide-body airplane and it wasn't full. So Mom was able to scooch over a seat and let Henry have his own. I had saved some of the toys that I had brought and bought so that they were fresh to him on the way back. He did pretty good playing with his toys. And I know my body was really confused about what time it was...the flight crew treated it like it was overnight and turned all of the lights off in the cabin. Henry layed on the seat between my Mom and I, but every time I looked at him, he wasn't sleeping...he was just looking around quite contentedly.

When we arrived in San Francisco, it was a momentous event. This was when and where Henry officially became a US citizen. So we had to go through a special line in Customs and Immigration. Because he was actually an immigrant. After that process (sorry, no cameras allowed in that part of the airport) we had to retrieve our luggage, have it checked, and then recheck it. From there, my Mom and I parted ways as she was going on to Chicago and we were headed home to Houston. She had volunteered to take the plastic bag with Henry's stinky vomit clothes and blanket. She later shared that she got selected for extra baggage screening and when the guy opened that bag, he decided my mom's bag was just fine and quit checking.

Henry and I headed in the direction of our gate. When we got there, we found it was delayed. No worries. We took some time to go freshen ourselves in the bathroom. Henry got another change of outfit...I did the best I could with what I had.

And then we picked up a bagel. I didn't have much left to feed the boy, and I figured the bagel would help him feel full. He nibbled on it and so did I. Eventually, our flight left and we were on our way. Again, he did pretty well on the flight from San Francisco to Houston. I think both our bodies were very, very confused and neither of us had slept much since we left Vladivostok.

It was quite late when we arrived home. Aunt Leslie met us at the airport. It was so nice to finally see a familiar face. Henry was strapped into his new car seat...probably the first time he had ever ridden in a car seat before. He wasn't too happy about it and fussed most of the way home. The only thing that seemed to calm him was if I hummed the tune to Bat know..."na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na Bat Man!"

When we got home, we both crawled into bed. Whew. However, at about 4 a.m., Henry's body decided it was daytime and time to get up. I spent a couple of hours in his room cajoling him back to sleep. We would repeat this pattern for the next week, except each night, it was 2 hours earlier that he would wake up. Eventually, it merged with his bedtime and he quit waking in the middle of the night.

The day after we arrived home, Leslie had coordinated a "meet and greet". All of my closest friends stopped by to meet Henry. My doctor had recommended this approach, followed by a period of "cocooning" to allow Henry to adjust to his new environment and begin grasping that I was his family. And that's just what we did. We stayed in, we kept things low key, we spent our days together on the floor playing.

After we were home a few weeks, he seemed to be adjusting well, so we headed out to our first meeting. He handled it great, and we even went out to lunch afterwards, and then on to the park for this photo shoot. Here are a few more of my favorites from that day:


  1. Beautiful! both the story and the pix. He's a doll baby. He really looks so much like you that he could have come from your own loins. I would imagine you've heard that many times before. LOL

  2. laughed out loud at the batman part. and of course, got choked up at the cocooning part. i get choked up reading most of your flashbacks. whenever i think of the magnitude of what you did for henry by adopting him, i get all teary. thanks a lot.


  3. I loved it! It is so similar to our experience with Carter, traveling that same route. Your Henry is a precious boy! Thanks for sharing this!